True finished, healed results from PMU services are typically achieved over two sessions – the initial session, where we map your features (for brows), start from scratch, explain aftercare, and lay a good base, and a secondary perfecting session (complimentary at Inkvictus 😉), where we assess your healed results and make any adjustments to ensure you’re all set for a good while! (Not everyone needs a perfecting session, and if healed results are a-ok after the initial then we won’t subject your skin to further trauma, but that’s for another blog post!)
Many artists instruct their clients to return for “annual color boosts” or “refreshers” when they say goodbye to them after the perfecting session, but are refreshers really needed on a yearly basis? The answer for 99% of clients is NO!
As pigment heals into your skin, it goes through a series of phases – darker, then lighter, then evening out to a beautiful, natural tone. Once your PMU is healed and as time marches on, the pigment will continue to shift and “fade” as your body slowly incorporates and breaks down the pigment and your unique physiology metabolizes the individual components of the colors used to create your customized shade.
This happens at different rates for literally everyone, as – and this might be a shock – we are all different! Things like skin tone, maturity, porosity, lifestyle, and skincare regimen all play a part in how your PMU will age over time. If you have oily skin, larger pores, spend time out in the sun, have an active lifestyle (think: you sweat a lot), or are in water frequently, the pigment in your skin will age at a vastly different rate than someone with drier skin and smaller pores who spends all of their time inside and has never sweat a day in their life.
Is any of this sounding familiar? The factors that go into how your PMU will age are the same factors that we artists use when formulating the pigment to use in the first place. (You can read all about the myriad pieces of information we use for that here!)
The theme here: there can therefore be no such thing as a one-size-fits-all timeline prognosis on when your skin will be ready for a touch-up/refresher/color boost. Not only will no two clients be ready for a refresher at the same time, but the odds of anyone’s skin being ready to accept more pigment at precisely the year mark are extremely, e x t r e m e l y low.
“Okay, so if my skin won’t be ready when my calendar reminds me it’s been a year, how will I know when it is ready?” Great question. We at Inkvictus tell all of our clients that we need the pigment in your brows/lips/eyes to be faded at least 50% before we will even consider going in to add more pigment.
Think of your skin like the water cup a painter uses to clean off their brushes. Once the clear water is colored with paint (once your skin is properly saturated with pigment), adding more paint to that water cup is only going to muddy the color to a not-cute gray/brown murky mess. The only way that color could possibly be shifted would be to dilute the mixture by adding more clear water. Giving your skin ample time for pigment to fade and for your body to break down and metabolize it is the only way to be sure that any additional pigment we add to it won’t simply be sucked into that murkiness.
Let’s go back two sentences ago to the concept of “color shifting”. Remember when I said that our bodies all metabolize pigments at different rates, including by individual color component? While our goal as artists is for your PMU to remain the same beautiful color we initially achieved and for it to just fade lighter over time, each of our body’s unique makeups play a role in the rates at which the individual color components are broken down.
For brows, this may mean that once the pigment has faded (at least 50%!), they may have cooled off a bit to more of an ashier color – meaning your body broke down more of the reds and yellows in the original pigment formula and left the blacks – or certain medications and skincare products could have resulted in the opposite happening, and the pigment may have warmed to more of a salmon/peachy color. As long as the pigment is faded enough for us to go back in, what we would then do at your color boost is to replace those components that your body has broken down, and return the pigment to the neutral shade it once was. If your skin is still too saturated with pigment, there is no room for us to replace the missing components = no room to color shift. If we tried, your brows might look rejuvenated for a few weeks or months, but would eventually return to the color they were as the skin hadn’t truly made enough room for new pigment. So what does this mean for scheduling those color boosts?
It means that we at Inkvictus made the decision to remove self-booking for refresher appointments from our website, and instead request that when you feel that your brows/lips/eyes have faded at least 50%, send us a picture!
Send us a photo of your beautiful face in natural light and with no makeup on via email (email@example.com) and if your artist agrees that it’s time for you to come in, we will work with you directly to schedule a date and time for you to come see us!
For most clients, this is around a year and a half, but for others it could be as long as three years! Like we’ve said in countless other posts: our #1 goal is for your PMU to look beautiful for a long, long time, and if that means a few months of having to add makeup before your skin is ready for more pigment, it’s a sacrifice your skin will only thank you for! 😊